Woodbury students make 'Mulan' come to life on stage
East Ridge High School students Brendan Finn and Holly Brown are taking a break from high school theater for community theater.
Finn, a sophomore, and Brown, a senior, will be appearing at the Phipps Center for the Arts, in Hudson, Wis., in its production of “Mulan Jr.”
The show opened Feb. 14 and will continue this weekend.
“I kind of wanted to go and see what it would be like to work with different directors,” Brown said. “I thought it would be fun to go and be out of a different theater.”
“Mulan Jr.,” a musical adaptation of the 1998 Disney film “Mulan,” tells the story of Mulan, a young maiden who disguises herself as a soldier to save her father. Mulan’s father was called into battle to defeat the Huns, who invaded China.
“I like how Mulan just does her own thing,” Finn said. “That’s a great example to set for people.”
In the Phipps production, Finn plays Chien-Po, one of the soldiers who befriends Mulan. Brown is featured in the ensemble cast as one of the mothers.
“This is my first Phipps show,” she said.
A love for theater
Brown started theater two years ago when she first auditioned for the school musical.
Whereas Brown only started theater recently, Finn has had a long-term love of theater since he was in second grade.
It was seeing Woodbury High School’s production of “Sound of Music” that really cemented his passion for theater.
“It was just something awesome to see,” he said. “That’s when I started to think that this was something that I could do and it slowly became more of something that I wanted to do.”
Both Finn and Brown are drawn to musical theater, rather than straight theater, because of their love of music.
“I have a passion for music and I absolutely love singing,” Brown said. “Plus it’s fun to perform songs that I love.”
Finn and Brown both love being able to entertain people.
“I just get a thrill out of theater because I love every aspect of it,” Brown said. “It’s great getting to work on something for so long and then share it with other people. It’s fun to be the entertainment for the night.”
Both Brown and Finn said they intend to be involved in theater in the future in some capacity.
“I love to perform and I want to do it as often as I can,” Brown said. “It would be amazing to do it for the rest of my life, but you have to plan for the future.”
“I haven’t decided whether I want to do theater as a career or not,” Finn said, “because it can be a tough business.”
Bringing Disney to life
Both Finn and Brown grew up watching “Mulan” and “Mulan II” as kids, so being able to bring the films to life on the stage was a great treat.
“The director really wanted to make it like the movie,” Brown said, “so it was cool seeing it as live theater rather than a movie.”
Despite travel challenges getting to Wisconsin for rehearsals, it has all been worth it, they said.
“It was a lot of fun to see the audience reactions to things,” Finn said.
“It was exciting to finally have a show,” Brown said.
Both Brown and Finn they are excited to continue their run this weekend.
“It’s a really fun show,” Brown said. “It’s definitely worth coming out to see it.”